Unmotivated

As you can probably tell, I haven’t been motivated to write anything in well over a month. I don’t know why, but that’s what’s happened. I didn’t finish my Lenten project, though I am still occasionally working on it. I did just earn my orange belt in Tae Kwon Do, so that’s cool. And I’m going to be 40 on Tuesday, which is not cool, but it’s sort of unavoidable. I had a lovely birthday dinner with my entire family on Saturday night at Stoney River, which is the most-bestest steakhouse in the world. I loves me some garlic mashed potatoes.

I have an idea for a post about direct vs. indirect quotations in the Greek NT text, but I haven’t fully scoped it out yet. Maybe it will be coming soon. Maybe not.

I’m doing a lot more playing around with Scala, though I am still a lightweight. Sometimes when I’m reading other people’s Scala code, I feel very uneasy about my skills. Scala is beautiful and elegant, but sometimes the terseness of it make it a little overwhelming.

I’m testing out Mercurial for version control. I also tried Git, but based on what I’ve read, and what I’ve experienced, I think Mercurial is the better choice, at least right now. Git is the new, sexy thing, but Mercurial is better established, and the tooling is far better than for Git. Git is gaining ground, but I’m going to stick with Hg for now. I just bought “Mercurial: The Definitive Guide” from O’Reilly, and I’m reading it now. My VP has started asking questions about DVCS and should we switch from SVN and such, so this experiment will be useful shortly.

I’m playing a lot of backgammon. I taught my mother-in-law to play a few weeks ago, and my mother last night. Both picked it up quickly. I’m reading “The Backgammon Book” by Jacoby and Crawford, and trying to commit all the charts and probabilities to memory and get some real strategy going. My game is improving, but I’m still easily beatable.

Oh, and I”ve lost 22 pounds since February 28. Yay, me!

So, there you have it. All two of you now know why there hasn’t been anything new here for a while.

Two Updates and a Trophy

Update, the First: As I said back on February 19, I’m working on translating the Gospel of Luke from Greek into English as a Lenten project. Once I changed the project from simply reading the text in Greek, to translating and analyzing the Greek text in two different forms and writing down a reasonable translation, I knew that my timeline was going to shift. I am now certain that I won’t be finished with the project before Easter. There’s just no way around it. I haven’t had nearly as much time for translation as I’d hoped, and the additional research takes up what little time I do have. Does this mean I’m giving up on the project? No. What it means is that even though I won’t be finished by Easter, I’m going to continue the work until it’s completed, however long that might take. If I’m still working on it in May, that’s fine. I will complete it, it just won’t be when I originally planned.

Update, the Second: As I said on March 1, I have started a new exercise regimen. I am getting up at 5:00 AM, Sunday – Friday, to workout. (To be honest, I have slept in until 5:30 a couple of days.) Each day I get up, do some warmups to get my blood pumping, and then practice every Tae Kwon Do kick, block and punch that I’ve learned so far, multiple times per side. I then go through my TKD forms (3 of them, so far), and then do pushups & sit-ups or squats. I may be dropping the 100 Push-Ups challenge from the regimen, for now, because yesterday when I tried to do a push-up, my right biceps made a sound that was not a good one, and it felt like if I continued, something was going to snap. Last Thursday, the last 5 push-ups really hurt, and not in that “pain is just fear leaving the body” sort of way. This was “if you do one more of these, at least one muscle in this group is going to break” way. I need to at least lay off the push-ups for a week or so and then try again. We’ll see.

The good news is that so far, I’ve lost 13 pounds. It’s been well over a year since I’ve been at this weight, so I’m quite happy with that. I just need to stay motivated and keep at it.

And finally, the trophy. I’ve been a member of Grayson NPS Tae Kwon Do since August 2009. This past weekend, 22 of us went to the ICMA Region 2 Martial Arts Tournament. I was part of the demo team, which took 2nd place (out of 7 teams) in the team demo competition. I also won 3rd place (out of 5) for martial arts forms (I did Taegeuk Ee Jang, for those of you familiar with TKD). Between us, we won 14 trophies, which is pretty darn good.

Much video was shot of the various competitions. As it gets posted, I will provide links.

I’m Working on My Greek – Hard!

From an interview with Daniel B. Wallace, there is this question and Dr. Wallace’s response

Lastly, if there is one piece of advice you could give to someone entering New Testament Greek scholarship, what would it be?

Work on your languages hard. Without a solid foundation in Greek and Hebrew—and for doctoral students—German and French and/or Latin, Coptic, and Syriac—you can’t have an influence on biblical studies. It’s imperative that you take language acquisition and maintenance very, very seriously.

Well, I’m working hard on my Greek, as you can probably tell. I had some French in high school, and I do have a book on Coptic that I plan to read at some point. I definitely have plans to learn Hebrew, after I reach a certain point in my Greek studies. Where that point is, I don’t know. I suppose I’ll know it when I see it.

As for picking up German, Latin or Syriac, or of advancing in French… I need 63 hour days… :-(

A Comma Can Make Quite a Difference

As I said, I am reading the book of Luke in Greek as a Lenten project. At the urging of a friend, I have decided to write down my translation, which I will post here when completed. So today, I started working on the verses I’d already read, but had not written down. As I was doing this, I decided to read the Greek not only in my UBS4, but also in my Byzantine text. (The Byzantine textform is essentially the Greek text that underlies the Textus Receptus, which was used by the translators of the King James bible, so it is quite different in some places from the NA27/UBS4.) I have now noted two places in my translation where there are differences between them.

The one that was most interesting today was Luke 1:35b. Here it is from the UBS4,

διὸ καὶ τὸ γεννώμενον ἅγιον κληθήσεται, υἱὸς θεοῦ.

And here it is from the Byzantine,

διὸ καὶ τὸ γεννώμενον ἅγιον κληθήσεται υἱὸς θεοῦ.

Can you spot the difference? The UBS4 has a comma after κληθήσεται, but the Byzantine does not. Thus, the UBS4 would be translated something like,

And because of this, the one who is born will be called holy, the son of God.

But without the comma, the Byzantine comes across something like this,

And because of this, the holy one who is born will be called the son of God.

You can argue that there’s not a whole lot of difference between the two, and there probably isn’t, but the feel of the two is different. At least I think it is. The King James bible takes it even farther, with unusually awkward language,

therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

I think I’ll stick with my UBS4 translation. :-)

Of course, in antiquity, when these documents were originally written down, they didn’t use any punctuation at all. Or spaces between words! It wasn’t until the Middle Ages (I believe) before Greek writing included spaces, punctuation and accents. So, the placement of a comma or not is certainly up for debate.

I said I’d noticed two differences between the two texts, and even though this one has nothing to do with a comma, I will point it out for those who care. It is an additional clause in Gabriel’s greeting to Mary in Luke 1:28. The UBS4 has,

καὶ εἰσελθὼν πρὸς αὐτὴν εἶπεν, Χαῖρε, κεχαριτωμένη, ὁ κύριος μετὰ σοῦ.

and the Byzantine has

καὶ εἰσελθὼν πρὸς αὐτὴν εἶπεν, Χαῖρε, κεχαριτωμένη· ὁ κύριος μετὰ σοῦ, εὐλογημένη σὺ ἐν γυναιξίν.

The first would be translated,

And he went in to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!”

And the second,

And he went in to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one; the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women.”

There was a bit of a punctuation change, a semicolon for a comma, but nothing major. The real difference was that the Byzantine had the extra bit about being blessed among women. I love this sort of thing, by the way: seeing differences between manuscript traditions and thinking about why one has something and another does not. I can’t tell you why the Byzantine has the extra clause and the UBS4 doesn’t, but it’s still an interesting thing to think about.

My Lenten Project: Reading Luke In Greek

In 2007, I announced that I was going to try to translate all of the book of Jude from Greek into English as a Lenten project. It did not go well. I realized pretty quickly that my skills were not at a point where I could do the work, and so I quietly stopped working on it after a few days, and never mentioned it again.

Now it’s three years later, my translation skills have improved, and I have more confidence. I heard about this Yahoo group called LentenGreekReading a couple of weeks ago and their announced plans to tackle the book of Luke for Lent. I joined the group and on Ash Wednesday, I began my reading.

Lent, as you may recall, lasts 40 days. Well, we say it lasts 40 days, but the actual time varies by denomination. Basically, you just don’t count the Sundays between Ash Wednesday and Holy Saturday (the day before Easter). If you do that, you get 40 days, even though it’s really 46. Anyway, Lent is observed by the Catholic church, and some Protestant denominations, like mine, the United Methodist Church. While Lent is traditionally a time of fasting and self-denial, more recently, some Protestants have used it as a time of devotion to a special purpose or project. Hence, the reading plan.

So on Ash Wednesday, I read Luke 1:1 – 38, which took me about 2.5 hours. Yes, 2.5 hours to read 38 verses. Those verses covered Luke explaining to Theophilus why he wrote the book and the foretelling of the births of John the Baptist and Jesus,

The next day, I read Luke 1:39 – 66, and that only took about an hour. Yes, there were fewer verses, but I could tell I was moving at a better pace. Those verses included Mary’s visit to Elizabeth, the Magnificat, and the birth of John.

Today’s reading was Luke 1:67 – 2:20. I finished it in about an hour, but I had a bit of a head start, since I had already translated all of Luke 2:1 – 20 for Christmas. This reading included Zechariah’s prophesy about John, and the birth of Jesus.

I am pleased with my progress so far, and I feel good about my changes of actually finishing the project before Easter. I will post occasional updates if I find something interesting in the translation. Wish me luck; I’m sure I’m going to hit some rocky spots along the way.

A Page From A Medieval Greek Bible Is Now Mine – Huzzah!

See those two images up there? Those are scans of my latest acquisition, and I’m so excited about it. It’s a page from a Greek Bible that was printed in 1526. If you don’t want to do the math, that’s 484 years ago. According to the seller,

This is a leaf from a Biblia Graeca, Old Testament (Septuagint), printed in Strassburg by W. Kopfel in 1526. Originally from volume 2 of a 4 volume set and is the third edition of the complete Greek Bible by Johannes Lonicerus (Lonitzer). The octavo paper measures 162 x 99 mm. in totality and contains 30 lines of Ancient Greek script printed single column. The verso contains the same amount of lines and type.

I found this on eBay about two weeks ago, and I just had to have it. It’s nothing really special, as old documents go, but it’s the oldest thing that I have ever owned, and it fits in nicely with my Greek hobby. It contains bits of two chapters of the book of Esther. It starts partially through chapter 6, verse 1, on the front and goes through about half of chapter 7, verse 8, on the back. I can read some of it, but since it’s in Ancient Greek, and I am a student of Koine, it will take some extra effort to actually translate it.

One thing that is very interesting about it is the typography. There are symbols that I’ve never seen before, and weird ligatures that make it quite hard to read in places. I don’t know if this is typical of printing in the 1500’s or not.

What I really like about this piece is thinking about what the world was like when it was printed. Think about it: it was printed in 1526. That was only 34 years after Columbus set sail in 1492. The first British colonies in what would eventually become the United States would not be founded for another 81 years. It was printed 9 years after Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg, Germany, and only 5 years after he was excommunicated from the Catholic Church. It was the same year that William Tyndale first published a version of the bible in English.

This thing was printed a long time ago. And now it’s mine.

My Translation of Luke 2:1-20

Last year before Christmas I translated the nativity story from Luke 2:1-20 from Greek into English because I thought I was up to it. My family and I read it together on Christmas Eve, which was kind of neat, but I never showed it to anyone else. I decided to publish it here in time for this Christmas, so here it is. This is not exactly what I did last year; as I was reading through it I noticed a few places where I wasn’t as correct or as fluid as I would have liked, so I revised it here and there. It’s much better now than it was, IMO.

You will notice that Luke 2:14 does not end with the familar, “… and on earth, peace, good will toward men,” that the KJV renders. To truly understand why, you’ll need to do some reading about textual criticism and different manuscript traditions. The short answer is that the KJV translators used the Textus Receptus, which had the word εὐδοκία (in the nominative, or subject, case) and most other translators used older, more reliable, manuscripts which have the word εὐδοκίας (in the genitive case). That may not make sense, but the addition of one letter makes an enormous difference in how it is translated.

I would also like to point out that in verse 16, the word ἀνεῦραν, the aorist form of the verb ἀνευρίσκω, means “to find by diligent search.” I could not think of a good way to really express this, yet still sound good to the ear. I wrote before about this word and how simply translating it as “found” seems to lose the nuance of the original. To find something could simply mean that one saw it or stumbled upon it. But to “find by diligent search” implies a certain amount of effort. In the end, I came down on the side of sonority, and joined most other translators in simply using “found.”

So, with that said, here it is. As before, I’ll show it twice. First, split into verses with the Greek and then the English. And finally, just the English, in nice paragraph form. If your browser is not showing you the proper Greek letters, you can download a PDF of the whole thing by clicking here.

Κατα Λουκαν 2:1 – 20 — Luke 2: 1 – 20

1Ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις ἐκείναις ἐξῆλθεν δόγμα παρὰ Καίσαρος Αὐγούστου ἀπογράφεσθαι πᾶσαν τὴν οἰκουμένην.
And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus for all the world to be registered.
2αὕτη ἀπογραφὴ πρώτη ἐγένετο ἡγεμονεύοντος τῆς Συρίας Κυρηνίου.
This first registration came about while Quirinius was governor of Syria.
3καὶ ἐπορεύοντο πάντες ἀπογράφεσθαι, ἕκαστος εἰς τὴν ἑαυτοῦ πόλιν.
And everyone went to be registered, each into his own city.
4Ἀνέβη δὲ καὶ Ἰωσὴφ ἀπὸ τῆς Γαλιλαίας ἐκ πόλεως Ναζαρὲθ εἰς τὴν Ἰουδαίαν εἰς πόλιν Δαυὶδ ἥτις καλεῖται Βηθλέεμ, διὰ τὸ εἶναι αὐτὸν ἐξ οἴκου καὶ πατριᾶς Δαυίδ,
And Joseph also went up from Galilee from the city of Nazareth into Judea into the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David,
5ἀπογράψασθαι σὺν Μαριὰμ τῇ ἐμνηστευμένῃ αὐτῷ, οὔσῃ ἐγκύῳ.
to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, and she being with child.
6ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν τῷ εἶναι αὐτοὺς ἐκεῖ ἐπλήσθησαν αἱ ἡμέραι τοῦ τεκεῖν αὐτήν,
And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth,
7καὶ ἔτεκεν τὸν υἱὸν αὐτῆς τὸν πρωτότοκον, καὶ ἐσπαργάνωσεν αὐτὸν καὶ ἀνέκλινεν αὐτὸν ἐν φάτνῃ, διότι οὐκ ἦν αὐτοῖς τόπος ἐν τῷ καταλύματι.
And she gave birth to her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
8Καὶ ποιμένες ἦσαν ἐν τῇ χώρᾳ τῇ αὐτῇ ἀγραυλοῦντες καὶ φυλάσσοντες φυλακὰς τῆς νυκτὸς ἐπὶ τὴν ποίμνην αὐτῶν.
And there were shepherds in the same region, staying out in the field and keeping watch over their flock by night.
9καὶ ἄγγελος κυρίου ἐπέστη αὐτοῖς καὶ δόξα κυρίου περιέλαμψεν αὐτούς, καὶ ἐφοβήθησαν φόβον μέγαν.
And an angel of the Lord came to them suddenly and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terribly afraid.
10καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς ὁ ἄγγελος, Μὴ φοβεῖσθε, ἰδοὺ γὰρ εὐαγγελίζομαι ὑμῖν χαρὰν μεγάλην ἥτις ἔσται παντὶ τῷ λαῷ,
And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold I bring you good news of great joy which is to be for all the people,
11ὅτι ἐτέχθη ὑμῖν σήμερον σωτὴρ ὅς ἐστιν Χριστὸς κύριος ἐν πόλει Δαυίδ.
For born to you this very day, in the city of David, is a savior, who is Christ the Lord.
12καὶ τοῦτο ὑμῖν τὸ σημεῖον, εὑρήσετε βρέφος ἐσπαργανωμένον καὶ κείμενον ἐν φάτνῃ.
And this is a sign to you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”
13καὶ ἐξαίφνης ἐγένετο σὺν τῷ ἀγγέλῳ πλῆθος στρατιᾶς οὐρανίου αἰνούντων τὸν θεὸν καὶ λεγόντων,
And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,
14Δόξα ἐν ὑψίστοις θεῷ καὶ ἐπὶ γῆς εἰρήνη ἐν ἀνθρώποις εὐδοκίας.
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace among men of his favor.”
15Καὶ ἐγένετο ὡς ἀπῆλθον ἀπ᾽ αὐτῶν εἰς τὸν οὐρανὸν οἱ ἄγγελοι, οἱ ποιμένες ἐλάλουν πρὸς ἀλλήλους, Διέλθωμεν δὴ ἕως Βηθλέεμ καὶ ἴδωμεν τὸ ῥῆμα τοῦτο τὸ γεγονὸς ὅ ὁ κὐριος ἐγνώρισεν ἡμῖν.
And it happened as the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds were saying to one another, “Now let us proceed unto Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to be, which the Lord has made known to us.”
16καὶ ἦλθαν σπεύσαντες καὶ ἀνεῦραν τήν τε Μαριὰμ καὶ τὸν Ἰωσὴφ καὶ τὀ φρέφος κείμενον ἐν τῇ φατνῃ,
And they went quickly and found both Mary and Joseph, and the baby, lying in a manger,
17ἰδόντες δὲ ἐγνώρισαν περὶ τοῦ ῥήματος τοῦ λαληθέντος αὐτοῖς περὶ τοῦ παιδίου τούτου.
and after seeing this they made known to them the saying which was spoken to them concerning this child.
18καὶ πάντες οἱ ἀκούσαντες ἐθαύμασαν περὶ τῶν λαληθέντων ὑπὸ τῶν ποιμένων πρὸς αὐτοὐς·
And all who heard wondered at what was said to them by the shepherds;
19ἡ δὲ Μαριὰμ πάντα συνετήρει τὰ ῥήματα ταῦτα συμβάλλουσα ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ αὐτῆς.
But Mary closely kept all these sayings, pondering upon them in her heart.
20καὶ ὑπέστρεψαν οἱ ποιμένες δοξάζοντες καὶ αἰνοῦντες τὸν θεὸν ἐπὶ πᾶσιν οἷς ἤκουσαν καὶ εἶδον χαθὼς ἐλαλήθη πρὸς αὐτούς.
And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, at is had been told to them.

Luke 2: 1 – 20

1And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus for all the world to be registered. 2This first registration came about while Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3And everyone went to be registered, each into his own city. 4And Joseph also went up from Galilee from the city of Nazareth into Judea into the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, and she being with child. 6And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth, 7And she gave birth to her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. 8And there were shepherds in the same region, staying out in the field and keeping watch over their flock by night. 9And an angel of the Lord came to them suddenly and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terribly afraid. 10And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold I bring you good news of great joy which is to be for all the people, 11For born to you this very day, in the city of David, is a savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12And this is a sign to you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” 13And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,
14“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace among men of his favor.” 15And it happened as the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds were saying to one another, “Now let us proceed unto Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to be, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16And they went quickly and found both Mary and Joseph, and the baby, lying in a manger, 17and after seeing this they made known to them the saying which was spoken to them concerning this child. 18And all who heard wondered at what was said to them by the shepherds; 19But Mary closely kept all these sayings, pondering upon them in her heart. 20And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, at is had been told to them.